tv [untitled] April 30, 2011 1:30am-2:00am PDT
francisco economic opportunity counsel. this one i believe i can do in two means -- minutes because it's a no-brainer. oning of the most important projects that will come before you, because of the great need exhibited by all that goes on there now and we need to continue that too because the amazing and brilliant legacy it has in nurturing the lives of some very accomplished and talented people that came through there and we want to have the opportunity to continue to nurture brilliant and amazing young people who are coming through that center now and will come in the future. thirdly, i just want to bring to your attention that i believe that the people who oppose this are good people. i believe that every one of them has sat and watched the news stories about children transitioning and aging out of foster care and i bet you every one of them has said somebody needs to do something. the problem was they didn't nope the somebody would be them. it falls on them this time to be the somebody is and we're
just asking you and them to trust your compassion that you have for people in this condition and to remember foster children haven't done anything wrong. on the contrary, wrong has been done to them. and we have an opportunity and an obligation to right that wrong. this is your opportunity right here. please take it and approve this project. thank you very much for my two minutes almost. [laughter] >> good afternoon, planning commissioners. i'm steve unschum. i'm a senior program manager with the corporation for supportive housing, c.f.h., a national nonprofit that works in communities across the country to create permanent housing to prevent homelessness we strongly believe thatnd --
and the evidence is promising that when providing with decent housing along with access to relevant services, transitional youth can heal past traumas, access the services they need and building -- build stable lives and achieve progress toward reaching their potential. we have been for these reasons an enthusiastic supporter of the booker trvings washington project with 24 units of housing for transitional youth. we are looking ford to providing additional support for the project to move forward. booker t. washington development represents a small but significant contribution to the stay -- city's planned goal of 400 units by 2015 but each unit reps a significant
investment in preventing the emergence of a new generation of homeless adults and families. thank you. >> thank you. >> hi, committee and staff. my name is richard wu. i'm the executive director of tech skills center, a nonprofit state wide to help people that want to transition to the i. trves world and give them job placement. the reason i'm here and passionate about booker t. is that i am one of the examples who grew up in san francisco as a native. my family and i came to the city pretty poor and went through booker t. and automatic the other programs. i went to school, went to lowe, u.c. berkeley and today i'm a senior software engineer for a company called nimbus, a global company. we will be working with booker t. to help them even the
challenge if given the opportunity with more housing, afterschool programs and jobs. they are also the gateway of silicon valley. there are so many opportunities for them to show that they are our future. they need to have a good opportunity like i did through education and opportunity to access the job market. and with the right education and right environment to do that i think they will be successful. i was also a san francisco native and a taxpayer. these are the programs that i fund, i love to see to be inspired and i love to pay more taxes if these are the programs that are going to be on the ballot. [laughter] that's it. thank you. >> hello. eye -- my name is julia sullivan and i'm the program manager of the san francisco housing action coalition. on behalf of our organization i
respectfully urge you to support this important project. we understand that there has been neighborhood opposition to the project on the grounds that it threatens the neighborhood's character. we ask you to consider the following about this proposal. first, the proposed project is locate add cross the street from a muni bus parking lot and is an excellent location for affordable housing. second are the project design team has already made significant changes to dreats neighborhood concerns, legitimate concerns regarding height and massing the these concession -- concessions come at the spevens the project viability. no more should be asked of them. third, this site presents an enormous opportunity to provide affordable housing to young people at risk and must not be beasted -- wasted. lastly, the project has low levels of parknd -- parking and
this is precisely the sort of design we should oup -- support in our neighborhoods. we do not believe any public purpose is served by delaying approval of this outstanding proposal. please support the project. thank you. >> donald clark, mildred simmons. >> hello. my name is donald clark. i was a foster youth. i was in foster care from age 11 to 19 and i was living with my grandmath -- grandmother but she had passed away. my experience was very unstable. i didn't have the emotional or social support that i needed and as a result i dealt with a lot of feels of abandonment and uncertainty. my transition from foster care was pretty good because i didn't like being in foster
care. it was very liberating for me. foster youth and my social worker helped me transition to housing. i got involved. now i'm in the process of moving out and graduating from mike's first place and i see what it would have been like if i haven't had any guidance from a youth advocate and an employment and education special lift to teach me how to talk to employers, find school programs and get connected with other community resources, budgeting and life planning. it would have been difficult for me to find a place to live and a job and i possibly would have been homeless. i felt great to have a place of my own. it gave me a sense of independence. my youth advocate was very helpful. she helped with the rent, she's bain good listener and helped me with personal issues.
in addition, first place has given me food and transition assistant and at the end of five years i was playing a sport and working for a theater company. if i had not found the support i would be back at my former guardian's house and i wouldn't like that because i don't like being dependent on anyone else. that's the best thing first place offered me was that sense of independence with transitional housing so if anything this would be a great opportunity for foster youth. thank you. president olague: thank you. you can come up to the mike, ma'am. sorry about that. we're just -- i don't think it's automatic. i think you have to --
>> good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen. my name is ruth clay. i'm a san francisco former foster youth. i had no place to live. i was sleeping from house to house with college put on hold. however, things changed when independent living skills referred me to first place for youth housing program. at the place, with my first apartment. my life changed forever. first place taught me how to manage money, pay my bills on time, write checks and get a job. it also furthered by -- my education. without first place, school would be the last thing on my mind. if first place was in san francisco it would be easier for youth to get to and from their appointment and youth don't have to be placed in other cities. since being in the program i
have accomplished many gomez -- goals. i finished two years of college, starting in the fall this year and starting my own new family. first place was a great place to achieve the goals. >> good afternoon. my name is mildred simmons. >> can you speak into the mike, ma'am? >> my name is mildred simmons and i had a beautiful experience at booker t. washington. he i went there at age 16 coming out of high school. at that time i said i would never go back there because they were too strict and take too much care of us. and now i'm still back there at booker t. and scoon will be -- soon will be 74. but in the meantime i've been there and seen the experience of how they he did. i would like to see booker t.
continue going forward because i've seen many that came through there and went forward because i was one. i was also a mother of four. raised 22 foster kids and they turned out to be, some of the foster kids turned out better than mine. turned out two of the girls are already in nursing. they went to nursing school and all. i was able to go to nursing school as well. i worked at san francisco general 22 1/2 years and ride -- right now i'm volunteering at booker t. washington square. i would loove -- love to see booker t. washington keep going strong because it's going to be there for the kids. please help them to go forward. and the things we have there, the employees are so beautiful in6 c1 beautiful in helping the kids. one of the things i don't like hearing is about african-americans. it serves all nationalities.
and to see how the parents come in and see the smile because they're not outside like there was a time you could go to places and see smoking or something. those parents bring them in there and those kids are inside there and got them going with different things. you look today and see some of the students that's here. you will see, they are really beautiful. booker t. is going to be there and hope that they continue. [applause] >> my name is robert crispin. i've been a resident of san francisco since 1948. i am now a retired college professor, editor and chief publisher and co-founder of the
black scholar, journal of black studies and research which is now in its 41st year. san francisco has seen a drastic decline in its black population from 1948 on to the present as a consequence of the california redevelopment act of 1945. in the fillmore, 4,729 businesses were forced to close. 2,500 households were pushed out and 883 victorian houses were demolished, destruction was huge business. with the destruction of the fillmore, a powerful matrix of black arts and leadership also perished and indigenous jazz scene, blues, maya angelou, danny glover, johnny mathis all have their routes -- roots in
the western addition. the major vestige is the booker t. washington community center which has been in san francisco since 1917. the rec and services communities and in drafting 50 apartments into a new five-story structure. what seems to be the sticking point is 15 feet of height. laterally booker t. is a mixed area, which includes a muni, car barn, best buy, home depot and so on. compared with one -- >> thank you, sir. thank you. rob costo, ronald cardin, tom radulovic, katherine carr.
>> good evening, my name is rob castau, a neighbor of the proposed project and also a supporter of the community center and affordable housing in general to the extent it blends in with the character of a local neighborhood. you know, i'm a volunteer in san francisco and we do a lot of work with 18-24-year-olds in transitioning them into the work force and i'd be happy volunteering if the local community center would help out with that. my one issue with the project is simply the scale. i think it's grossly out of character with the victorians on sutter and the traditional nature of the neighborhood. there's been very little communication with the neighborhood thus far. in fact, i think some of the neighbors feel they've been ville find -- ville find -- vilified which is a very unfortunate situation. and i think for some of the neighbors, the parking issue has never been addressed. some other issues for certain neighbors, certain tax-paying,
local property owners have never been addressed. you know, all that said, i support the project with the compromised proposal that was discussed earlier, and i hope we can reach that compromise pretty soon. thanks. >> the overhead, please. >> you want to start talking? >> my name is ron cardin, 2755 sutter street, directly east of booker t. and that's my house right there. thank you, commissioners, for providing a public hearing of my comments and i'm on record of supporting the community center, affordable housing and emancipated youth programs and that hasn't changed to this day. i want to thank supervisor mark farrell who is working hard to build a compromise that's
before you and i hope it's accepted by the project sponsors. i request refinements on a number of issues for the project. first, the building wraps around our property on two sides west and south. it has a pronounced impact and boxes us in. and i would request mitigation of this by simply having bright, light, natural colors, not dark colors like you see on the gym wall here or the row of concrete on the community center wall. i think that will alleviate the fact that south and west sun and light has been removed. these are suggestions of some colors. i'm sure they'll be different. second request has to do with replacing the south and west sun and light being removed by working with the owner at 2745 sutter. next door to us to the east, removing a 40 to 50 foot avocado tree, replanting with smaller trees.
the owner will furnish written permission when required by the sponsors and the city. i also have concerns about property line fence and property line retaining wall at booker t. this is the west wall of my house. and if the fence is replaced, i would ask that translucent materials be used to transmit and admit reflected light and provide a feeling of openness. there's no fence of the west wall at my house because these windows will remain and let light in and we have maintenance action to our wall including this waterproof cover which bridges a gap between our wall and booker t. this is a picture of my basement of that same wall. looking west, the wall of our house was removed when the original retaining wall was constructed. and there's the concrete wall,
the remnants and that's our wall. i would ask that either the existing waterproof cover i just pointed out be retained and maintained with durable materials or reconstruct and weather proof the basement wall. i hope to see this project go through. thank you very much. >> thank you. >> good afternoon, commissioners, tom radulovic, executive director of livable city. i'm here to speak in support of the project. i live in the mission district and you often see changes in scale in residential neighborhoods. we live in a victorian neighborhood but there are large apartment buildings and they're all over and from the 1920's and everyone loves them and if you tried to tear them down everyone would scream but you put something similar up and of course people scream. there have been points raised, and i think they're valid about the gym.
and i think looking at sort of the color of that, looking at the scale of it, it is a big box so i think in a residential neighborhood you need some articulation. you need to break down the scale of that thing visually so it looks like it belongs in the neighborhood. but otherwise i think it sounds like there's been some good work done to try and make this fit into the neighborhood. so we commend the planning staff looking at the earlier rendering, the stepping up is much, much better. just wanted to speak a little bit to transit. i was chair of the sales tax committee and we put together prop k. one of the biggest investments we'll make is in the geary b.r.t. and might be the biggest investment we make in the city's rapid transit network. commissioner an tony, i wish it could be rail but probably will be bus and hope it carry as lot more people and this project is about a block, block and a half from the geary street corridor, and i can't think of a better place to put a project like this.
there will be very good 24-hour public transit access to the folks who need to get to and from this center. so, you know, maybe some design refinement but urge you not to knock stories off this project. we think the urban design plan said buildings should step up to the top of hills. it is pretty good. and we urge you to go forward but also urge you to think how we do density bonus. it's a one by one thing and drives project sponsors crazy. we need to do better. >> thank you. >> good afternoon, commissioners, katherine carr here representing the laurel heights improvement association as well as representing myself. i am a neighborhood. we sent a letter to you all earlier today and don't know if you need copies. i have some extras here in
case. to join our nonopposition to supervisor farrell's reduced height plan. some of you might know -- might not know where laurel heights is and many people talk about the bus yard right across the street from 800 presidio. we're just on the other side of that bus yard, about 100 yards to the west. so we are right next door, in essence, to this neighborhood. the reverend mentioned earlier, and i think you might have gone back to the other room, but he wants us to be ready and willing to be somebody in the neighborhood and we definitely are. the community wants to be that somebody in the neighborhood who rights the wrongs we talked about. we want to right the wrongs within a reasonable size building. we definitely support booker t. washington and the project that they do in our community. it's a wonderful organization for several decades it has been around and coming up on their
centennial year. we wanted to be a part of the community and not the institutionalized building that it looks like right now. we'd like it to be a four-story building and we definitely support the 24 units. if you do the four-story building, that would be 17 units for the other residents to total 41 units. and what better more the young lady from the radio station also mentioned it would be fabulous to be the national model. and i agree but what international model could you have than to show full community support of a project. you don't want to show communities being torn apart by a wonderful project like this when it could be great for san francisco and the youth commissioners here as well. d i'll leave you with one term, less is more. thank you, commissioners.
>> thank you. chris jackson followed by john kaufmann, regina davis, james mccray jr. . i'll keep calling names. if you're in the other room, just keep coming in. gail gilman, elaine lugo. huroshi fakuda. >> my name is john kaufmann. thank you, commissioners, for listening to us this afternoon. there's no question about the need for housing for emancipated youth and there's no question about the important mission that booker t. washington center is embarking on. we support that. but there is a question about the compatibility of this project as it now stands with the neighbors.
remember, the neighbors we've been talking about are on the block. they are the houses on the block. they are below, down the hill from the projects, so the impact of the project on them is greater than the 55 feet that the project currently stands. i also want to salute supervisor farrell for taking the initiative to try and put together a compromise that respects the need for emancipated youth housing, respects the mission of the agency, plus also respects the values of the neighborhood, the people that live on the block. and he's come up with a compromise which i think is a reasonable one. that's what address is all about, compromise. so that's why we're here today. i understand that because of the relationship between the project and the mayor's office and housing that if you reduce
the project by picking off the top floor there will be no financial impact on the project. it will be allowed to proceed on a financially sound basis. so i believe the compromise is a reasonable one, and i urge you to accept it. thank you. >> thank you. >> good afternoon, commissioners. my name is james mccray. i served as pastor in the western edition in fillmore for 25 years. we just recently asked the tabernacle community development corporation completed 21 units of affordable housing in this same community. but i want to say parenthetically during the 1960's, i would run up the hill from my church to booker t., for that was the place to be for that community as far back as i can remember. i simply stand to say this is a good project. it has a great vision and
mission. it brings before you a solid development team, a noble purpose. it comes before you in a critical time when those of the western addition and other parts of the community are facing the outmigration from this city. i come, therefore, to urge you and celebrate with you the approval of the calendar item. with booker t., the city and county of san francisco rises again to demonstrate we are the city that knows how, that knows how to do justice and to love righteousness. >> good evening, commissioners. my name is gail goldman. i live in district 2 and i support the project. i also have dedicated a good part of my work life in helping
to match up developers and service providers to build housing for youth aged out of foster care. let me tell you, it is not easy. in today's financing environment, it takes many sources of financing to build this kind of project. also, it's very difficult to find a developer willing to build housing for this population. principally because of the fact that communitys would like to see nice, quiet seniors living there instead of youth. so in this case we found a site in a safe community. we found a developer willing to take the risk. we found a community that has access to public transportation, a community that has good role models for
these young people. and i understand that there is an issue with the height. but let me tell you this. this is a problem. homelessness of youth aged out of foster care is a world social problem that we can solve and we can solve it here in san francisco. as was mentioned earlier, about 150 young people age out of foster care each year in san francisco. 60% of them will become homeless unless we intervene with housing and supportive services. surely people of goodwill with the help of government and private financing sources can help 150 young people a year. thank you. i urge you to keep it the way it is. >> thank you. >> i have to give yoth